Japan's Cosmo wins UAE extension, new stake

Japanese refiner Cosmo Oil Co. said on Thursday that one of its subsidiaries had been granted a 30-year extension on stakes in oilfields in the UAE as well as a new concession area nearby.

The agreement grants Abu Dhabi Oil, of which Cosmo Oil owns 63 per cent, extensions on the Mubarraz, Umm Al Anbar and Neewat Al Ghalan fields.

It will also make the Tokyo-based company the sole holder of the undeveloped Hail field, located 10 km southeast of Mubarraz Island, from Dec. 6, 2012 for a 30-year period.

Abu Dhabi Oil will be able to secure an estimated total of 40,000 barrels per day from all four fields if and when production starts at the newly granted area, said Kenji Hosaka, Cosmo Oil's senior managing executive officer.

"It will take five to six years for production to start at the new structure," Hosaka told reporters, referring to the time needed for test drilling and other development steps.

Hosaka declined to comment on estimated costs but said the use of an existing facility of the subsidiary would make the development economically viable as long as oil prices stay at or above $70 per barrel.

The new offshore field is located in shallower water than the three existing fields, which are 20-30 meters deep, and can be connected with a pipeline to the existing facility on Mubarraz Island.

Cosmo, one-fifth owned by the Abu Dhabi government, also said the new field is estimated to produce as much oil as the three existing fields will do in the coming decades.

"We expect the new structure to produce 20,000 barrels per pay consistently for quite some time," Hosaka said.

Hosaka also said the three fields are likely to keep almost the same pace of production as the current 24,000 barrels per day, even though cumulative output from the three fields already exceeded 300 million barrels from 1973 through last year.

Other shareholders in Abu Dhabi Oil are JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corp, with 31.5 per cent, as well as Tokyo Electric Power Co., Kansai Electric Power Co. and Chubu Electric Power Co., with 1.8 per cent each.

The agreement has been somewhat expected after the head of Abu Dhabi National Oil Co, Yousef Omair bin Yousef, said in a meeting last month with the then Japan trade minister, Akihiro Ohata, that he expected to give the 30-year extension.

The Emirates is the biggest crude supplier for Cosmo, Japan's fourth-largest refiner, and the second-biggest supplier to Japan after Saudi Arabia.

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